Mathematics problem solving homework as a conduit for parental involvement in learning. Evaluation of a pilot study.

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Abstract

Nine English primary schools piloted homework tasks that utilised mathematical problems set in “everyday” contexts to generate specific forms of parental involvement in children’s learning and, as a result, make mathematics homework enjoyable. Homework is pedagogically and socioculturally significant because of the effect it has on parents and children. If homework tasks are situated in everyday applications of mathematics and if teachers can convince parents that they can help regardless of their own perceived degree of mathematical competence, parent–child interaction is more likely. If teachers find time in their week to discuss homework children will recognise that their efforts are valued at home and in school. The child is then more likely to recognise the usefulness of mathematics as a life skill and the value of feedback. Doing more interesting homework may foster children’s mathematics talk, and increase self-efficacy and completion rates. Homework packs were sent home every week over a period of 20 weeks and four sets of data were collected: parent feedback sheets, pupil enjoyment questionnaires, teacher interviews and focus groups. Parents were asked to use encouragement, reinforcement and modelling rather than instructional techniques. The high profile given to the homework in class helped to convince parents that their contributions had value. The use of everyday problems provided opportunities to apply knowledge and skills. This evaluation points to a homework model that is manageable and enjoyable.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Review
Early online date25 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Homework
  • formative assessment
  • mathematics problem solving
  • parental involvement

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